The United Nations (UN) World Happiness Day is observed on the 20th of March annually. The day aims to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals in the lives of people around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. The main theme for 2018 is “Share Happiness – focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other”. The day also recognizes the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all people.
In commemoration of the 2018 World Happiness Day, NOIPolls reflects on findings from its past poll on Personal Well-Being conducted in Q4 2017, which highlighted the satisfaction of Nigerians with respect to various aspects of lives as seen in the chart below. Though the Economic, Standard of Living and Achievement in Life indices were the lowest ranked indicators, the Social Interaction Index which is a vital aspect of happiness was ranked highly and experienced an increase of 1.9-point from Q3, 2017 to stand at 79.4-points in Q4, 2017. This corroborates a report released by a United Kingdom-based charity Age UK in 2017, which revealed that staying social is one of the key ways of staying happy. Social activities such as going to the cinema, joining a sports club, or getting involved in a volunteer group are some of the most effective ways of boosting feelings of happiness and well-being, as well as overall health.
In line with the Day, the World Happiness Report released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 14th, 2018, ranked Nigeria the 91st happiest nation in the world and 5th in Africa. As revealed by the report, Nigerians seem to be happier now, as the country moved up from her previous position of 95th at the global level and 6th in African in 2017. Nigeria’s position in the World Happiness Report has shown that despite the economic and security challenges being faced in the country, her citizens strive to remain happy. This substantiates the Q4, 2017 Personal Well-Being Index which revealed a high ranking in social interaction (79.4-points) and health (76.4-points) indices despite the low ranking of the Economic, Standard of Living and Achievement in Life indices.
In conclusion, the above goes to show that Nigerians can achieve even greater feats if key government policies tackling mental health, happiness and permanently putting to an end the security and economic crisis in the country are formulated and strongly implemented.